FISTS IN THE POCKET is great, ditto for SLAP THE MONSTER ON THE FRONT PAGE from a couple years later...thanks for reminding me that I need to give Bellocchio some closer examination!
Forgive my late-topping of an old thread, but allow me to chime in once more to say that I really wish I had seen NEIGHBORING SOUNDS before I compiled my top 10. Ill leave the pitch up to STEVE ERICKSON AND SCOTT WILSON's piece about the film in their coverage of The Belcourt's "Movies We Missed" series, but let me say that having shared the first of only a couple screenings with an almost empty theater last night felt like an act of criminal neglegance.
Nashville audiences have just one more chance to see it, tonight at 9:10 - I couldn't recommend doing so more highly.
Firstly I need to clarify that those are not the worst films of the year - whatever those movies are, I surely did not see them. Rather, those are four instances where otherwise film-literate friends and acquaintances found profundity in work that struck me as intellectually bankrupt. PROMETHEUS was at least divisive, and ROOM 237 did offer the occasional morsel of food for thought, but it was the taken-for-granted nature of BEASTS and MOTORS as high-caliber artistic triumphs that irritated me to no end this year.
Carax's talent as a storyteller is suspicious at best. I've never been charmed by his lovable vagabonds, and his attempt to walk the line between populist spectacle and high art always strikes me as insecure. In 1963, Andrew Sarris wrote of Kubrick "His métier is projects rather than films, publicité rather than cinema." - a fitting summary of Carax. Also like Kubrick, Carax's work appears all the more bolstered by it's infrequency. But that's where the comparison ends. Kubrick was a gifted social commentator who used moral ambiguity to complicate his subject. HOLY MOTORS couldn't be less complicated. It safely cheer-leads stances on cinema and society that an audience seeing a Carax film would surely find agreeable. Denis Lavant on a treadmill, racing through invisible locations, firing at enemies yet to be rendered, heralding the decline of cinema with a capital D, and underlined in triplicate. Later his M. Merde plays beast to Eva Mendes' beauty - liberating her from a Parisian fashion shoot only to refashion her as a living statement on the parallel between Western and Eastern subjugation of women. Couture equals burka. How daring! By the time Kylie Minogue comes around to deliver the most excruciating musical interlude of the year, I'm struggling to stay awake. Carax is undoubtedly a talented maker of images, but by no means a man of dynamic intellect. This is why POLA X - his only feature he did not solely author - is also his only watchable film.
Then there's the beloved BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD - designed intrinsically to alleviate the burden of class guilt in it's art-house audience. Turns out that poverty isn't a shameful epidemic - it's a mystical condition possessed by those fortunate enough to have escaped our burdensome technological society. How silly we are to have a health care debate in this country - don't we realize that hospitals are horrible prisons from which we should escape? Poor people don't need health care - they have magic potions made of twigs and stuff. They also have adorable names like "Hushpuppy" and "Wink" which aren't the least bit patronizing. There's no need to worry about poor people - they've got it all figured out. It's us in our backwards culture of electricity and running water that deserve all the pity. Thank you, BEASTS for opening our eyes to the woeful ways of our first world trappings. If not for this cautionary fable penned by some skinny blond girl and her well-to-do Wesleyan graduate friend, America may never have known the true nature of poverty.
Anyways, nope - haven't seen SPARROW yet.
Way to slip in an under-the-wire mention of Coxhill's passing in the edit, Jim. Thanks for that...I didn't find out until a couple days after I wrote it and was hoping that someone would catch it before it published. Rest in power.
If you're flipping a dollar bin and want to squeeze just a little more Eno in, pick up the Phil Manzanera 1975 debut solo album Diamond Head, which Eno does vocal duties on a couple songs. Also features Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine/Matching Mole) and John Wetton (Wishbone Ash/Uriah Heep).
A super common lp, and absolutely worth a buck:
Has your neighborhood been blighted by casualties of the housing boom bust? Pocked with monolithic faux-luxury developments, as shamefully uninhabited as they are tasteless?
PROJECT X inspires a solution....
Occupy the unoccupied!
It'll be going on from 10am-9pm, FYI
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